Germany between Two Worlds

Germany between Two Worlds

Germany between Two Worlds

Germany between Two Worlds

Excerpt

An American student of contemporary Germany is embarrassed by the depth and variety of strong feelings about his subject in the United States. Except for Soviet Russia and China, United States relations with no foreign country are steeped in greater controversy, or subject to greater waves of emotionalism. Relations with Germany arouse not only the generally well-informed and knowledgeable in foreign affairs, but also vast numbers of Americans who usually abstain from taking positions on international issues.

Radical changes have taken place in the status of West German society in the years since 1945, but relations between Bonn and Washington today are still conducted against a tragic background of wartime animosity and frustrations. This background not only affects government policy, but -- more basic than that -- contributes to the "climate" in which popular attitudes and expert opinions in America regarding Germany are shaped. The role of individuals and of organized groups, both those who are prejudiced against the Germans and those who admire them and support whatever Germany does, cannot be ignored in analyzing American opinion about Germany. Indeed, the scholar can ignore these forces only at his peril, for unless he is willing to adopt a Germanophilic or a Germanophobic orientation, he may find himself without support and the target of powerful individuals and groups intent either on . . .

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